Ukraine International (UIA) has become the latest airline to charge non-partnered travel agents an extra fee when booking tickets on behalf of their clients using a GDS.
According to a statement provided to Travel Agent, the new $9 per flight segment fee is applied only to ticket sales agents that do not have a partnership agreement with UIA. To conclude one, a ticket agent can send a request to UIA’s head office. The option is free of charge and available to any agent, UIA said.
UIA said that the charge was introduced to cover the growing fees of global distribution systems. The move follows Lufthansa’s decision to introduce a 16 euro fee back in 2015 for bookings made through a GDS. Like UIA, Lufthansa cited the growing cost of distribution through GDS in its reasoning at the time. The new policy drew broad criticism from travel industry groups and travel agents, with then-Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben arguing that the move would place Lufthansa “at a competitive disadvantage on airfare pricing.”
Like Lufthansa’s fee, UIA’s new fee does not apply to direct bookings made on its website, call center, ticket offices or partner agent offices in the Ukraine and worldwide.
UIA is Ukraine’s largest air carrier. It connects Ukraine with key capital cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries. The airline’s base airport is Kiev Boryspil International Airport (KBP).